Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/22/2017

One of the biggest hurdles in becoming a homeowner is that of saving for a down payment. In todayís world, itís hard for anyone to save sizable amounts of money due to the extreme cost of living in most areas. With less income and higher expenses, many people have less of an opportunity to save money.

Saving Isnít Impossible

Many homebuyers are first-time homebuyers. While many simply dream of owning a home, others work to make it happen. Saving money is a goal. Once you save the money, you have made a real accomplishment. Youíll have a huge reward waiting for you once you reach your goal. How can you save effectively? Thereís a few simple steps that will allow you to start saving for a down payment on a home. Remember that no matter how slow you go, every step is one step closer to hitting your goals. 

Get A Savings Account

Preferably, the savings account that you open should be dedicated to your house expenses. Most of the time, your bank will allow you to set up automatic transfers from your checking account. See how much you can afford to save and set up these transfers. Each time you get a paycheck from work, have a certain amount put right into the savings account. Youíll be saving without even thinking about it.

Be Budget Friendly

Budgeting sounds complicated, but really, itís quite simple. First, put your monthly gross income on a spreadsheet. Then subtract things like taxes and fees that come out of your paycheck. Next, subtract all of your necessary monthly costs. These can include student loan debt, car loans, rent, and how much money you spend on food and entertainment. There's so many little things that we spend our money on everyday, you may be surprised to see how much youíre spending and what youíre spending it on. Some categories are important and others are not.       

See Where You Can Cut Costs

After you have made a concrete budget, see where you can cut some costs. If you need to cut out going to dinner and the movies, then do that. Thereís bound to be something that you can cut out of your budget thatís not a necessity that can help you to save some cash. The sacrifice will be worth it in the end!       

Indulge For Your House

Every time that you get a small bonus, a gift, or a tax refund, put it away. It can be tempting to want to go buy a brand new TV or spend your money on entertainment, but saving that money for your house fund will be a lot more rewarding. 

The bottom line is that it wonít be a huge task saving your money for a down payment once you put your mind to it. Happy saving!

Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/19/2017

Enhanced by its natural surroundings this meticulous Cape offers privacy within one of Mendon's most sought after neighborhoods. This home has an open floor plan with most of the rooms w/ hardwood flooring on the 1st floor. This matchless home features: a cabinet packed kitchen w/ granite counters, pantry closet, SS apps, L shaped counter opens to the family room & large eating area and a large mudroom off the garage w/ custom shelving. There is a large 1st floor master with ensuite bathroom as well as 2 generous 2nd floor bedrooms. The finished lower level is light filled & has incredible custom built shelving & storage. There is expansion potential over the garage. Come & sit on the quiet farmer's porch or grill on your large deck overlooking over an acre of flowering shrubs, ornamental trees and a lush irrigated lawn. First showings at the O/H Sun. 5/21, 12-3 PM.

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Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/15/2017

Whether you are in the hunt for a starter home, seeking temporary housing or looking for a place to create lifelong memories, a townhouse could be a smart option. One of the biggest takeaways associated with buying a townhouse is the amount of maintenance and care that the home requires.

Homeownership with less hassle

Townhouses generally donít require as much upkeep as a single home. Smaller front and backyards and homeowners associations reduce the work required to maintain a townhouse. Move into a townhouse that includes roofing and lawn care in its fees and you could save time and money over the long term.

Some townhouses are located in neighborhoods that have community swimming pools.These community facilities should also be maintained by the HOA. This gives you access to a swimming pool without your having to pay to install an in ground pool or without you having to shell out extra money on a single home that has a pool in the back yard.

Treasure trove of benefits

Location, size, affordability and more opportunities to socialize are other advantages living in a townhouse can bring. Townhouses are often located in urban areas that are within walking distance of stores and businesses. Because of their location, you wonít have a boring social life. In addition to being centrally located, itís not uncommon to find townhouses on public transportation routes.

Despite whatyou might think, a townhouse isnít much smaller than a single home. In fact,some townhouses are so large that you wonít ever feel as if youíre sharing awall with a neighbor. Just make sure that you research the neighborhood beforeyou buy a townhouse. Itís better to know that the neighbors are conscientiousbefore you move in than to later find out that you just moved next to a noisy rockband.

On the upside, if you and your neighbors get to know each other, you could easily develop a lifelong friendship. Your neighbors may also look out for your home when youíre out of town.

Because they are attached units, prices on townhouses can be lower than what you may find on single homes in your area. As with any other house, conduct a thorough inspection on each townhouse youíre thinking about buying. Work to build up your credit, if necessary, so that you can get the lowest fixed interest rates on your mortgage.

Townhouses are located throughout much of the United States. If you live on the East Coast, you may hear townhouses referred to as row houses, as East Coast townhouses can be joined for an entire block. In other regions of the country, townhouses only connect two homes. The townhouses in places like New York and Boston are elegant. They are large enough to easily accommodate a family of five.

To gain more privacy, consider installing a fence around your front and back yards. Your front porch should be large enough to hang potted flowers and plants on. You should also have enough front porch room to place a porch swing and a chair on. Another plus, is a side driveway.

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Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/8/2017

Take advantage of special home loans if you're currently serving in the military or have served in the military. You could qualify for mortgage cost savings as an active duty member or as a reservist. Specific mortgage cost savings that you could qualify for include a zero down payment, low interest rates, a cap on how much you have to contribute to closing costs and foreclosure protection. However, serving in the military isnít always a home loan savings slam dunk. Preparation and the right documents are important. So too are the following actions. Prepare to Meet and Negotiate with Mortgage Lenders Review your credit reports with the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Clear up discrepancies, including erroneous charges, collections and other late payments that you previously resolved. Pay down debt. Set a goal to pay off credit cards, especially high interest credit cards. Avoid opening new credit card accounts. Lenders are going to take a pulse on your overall financial health. High debts could indicate that youíd struggle to pay your mortgage should even one event change in your life. High interest credit cards could also lend the appearance that your credit isnít good enough for you to qualify for low interest credit cards, so again, pay off high interest credit cards early. If you receive a housing allowance, provide this information to lenders. A housing allowance is a benefit that active duty military members receive but may overlook when applying for a home loan. Should your spouse and you both serve in the military, the combined amount of your monthly housing allowance should be higher than if you were single. Contact your military human resources department if youíre unsure how much you receive in a monthly housing allowance. Get your financial records in order, meaning that you get paper copies of bank or credit union statements, a copy of your Statement of Service, DD-214 (if you're retired), paystubs, tax returns and paperwork on existing loans including any small business loans you took out to start a company. Before you meet with lenders, determine how much house you can afford. Take advantage of online mortgage calculators. Factors to include in your calculations when youíre determining how much house you can afford are monthly homeownerís insurance premiums, homeownerís association fees (if they apply), the down payment youíre going to put on your new home, property taxes, repairs, closing costs and inspection fees. If youíre thinking about buying an older home, consider increasing the amount youíll spend on repairs annually. Documentation together, itís time to start the loan pre-approval process. Meet with lenders who are approved by the Veterans Administration to offer mortgage cost savings to retirees, reservists and active duty members. Do this before you meet with realtors, as getting pre-approved for a loan can yield you greater mortgage cost savings. Use your military housing allowance to prove your loan repayment power. Prepare to negotiate with lenders to get the best interest rates and mortgage premiums that you can. In addition to your financial records, other factors that lenders will review about you include your marital status and your length of service. Lenders may focus on whether you just joined the military, are soon to be discharged or if your military job requires you to relocate often.

Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/1/2017

A real estate agent doesn't get paid unless he sells your house or negotiates a great deal on a new house for you to move into. If you've never worked with a real estate agent before, you may have lots of questions about how the process works. The below points offer insight into what you can generally expect when you work with a real estate agent.

Start smart when dealing with a real estate agent

During early meetings with a real estate agent, expect to find out how many other sellers or buyers the agent is representing. You'll also learn about the agent's standard commissions or fees. Third parties that the agent works with should also be discussed during early meetings.

The agent will create a marketing and advertising plan if you are selling your home. If you are house shopping, your real estate agent will search indexes, websites and directories for houses that are within your price range. The agent will also look for houses that meet your square footage and amenities requirements.

Home staging and open house schedules will be shared with you, so that you can view houses you're interested in buying in person. This also gives you the chance to as current owners of the houses or their representatives questions. If you'reselling your home, real estate agents work with stagers and interior designers to get your house ready to be showcased. Agents may ask you to remove family pictures and bright colored decorations off walls and tables while your house is being staged.

Photographs and videos will be taken of your home to generate leads. These pictures and videos will be placed on realtor websites. As a buyer, your real estate agent will share pictures and videos of houses that match your new home requirements with you.

What happens when you get closer to buying or selling a house

Throughout the home selling or home buying process, your real estate agent may telephone and email other area realtors to learn about properties on the market.

When your real estate agent finds houses that fit your requirements, he'll contact you and schedule a day and time for you to visit the houses. This part of the home buying process could take weeks or months. The more clear you are about what you want in a house, the shorter the process generally is.

Your real estate agent should handle paperwork and negotiations. Your agent should stick with your pricing requests. Your agent shouldn't talk you into buying a house that you cannot afford. Nor should your real estate agent try to talk you into buying a house that's too big or too small.

Few are as well versed in the world of home buying and selling as a real estate agent. Knowing what to expect from a real estate agent helps to take the uncertainty out of the process, especially if you're a new home buyer or a new home seller. Knowing what to expect from the real estate agent relationship also helps you to know which questions to ask agents you're thinking about contracting with.

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